Our Failures Reveal Our Powerlessness and Need for GodLife Recovery Step One says, “We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

In Step One, one must realize they cannot meet God’s standards. Many addicts who are starting recovery think they can do everything in their own strength, but trying to do it all without any help is not the solution. Why? Because no one can do it all. Everyone falls short—no one is perfect. So, God gave the law as a measuring stick to reveal that no one can meet God’s holy and perfect standards.

The apostle Paul wrote:

“Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise [of salvation through faith] to show people their sins. . .If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ. . .The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith.”—Gal. 3:19, 21-22, 24, NLT

In the Bible, Hagar is a picture of powerlessness. Even though it was not her fault, she had no rights. As a servant, she was under the control and power of Sarai and Abram, her masters. But when she ran away into the wilderness, she recognized that she could not do it on her own. It wasn’t until after she recognized her powerlessness over her situation that God stepped in and helped her.

Like Hagar, the law of God is an eternal reminder of one’s true powerlessness—one’s ongoing need for a Savior and the power of God. A person’s failures reveal their powerlessness and point them back to the only one able to help them recover: God.

Until an addict recognizes their hopeless situation without outside help, God waits and does not help them. But when they admit their need and cry out to God, He helps them.
God sets addicts free from their failures and directs them toward recovery.

By Steve Arterburn and Dr. Dave Stoop
Adapted from The Life Recovery Devotional by Stephen Arterburn and Dr. Dave Stoop